(As my adventures wound up being on a much grander scale than I anticipated, please check back frequently this week, as I'll be trying my best to capture as much detail as my brain will let me remember.)
The campsite - picture courtesy of Cait Fitzpatrick
I learned that when you lie down sideways on a hill, gravity happens. This lesson was taught to me repeatedly on the first night I attempted sleeping in my tent on the inflatable mattress I had pushed to the very lowest point. I suppose my logic dictated that by pushing my bed as far as possible from the entrance to the tent, should a moose or bear choose to come knocking, I’d have time to escape to absolutely nowhere.
Feel free to picture a middle-aged woman tangled in a sleeping bag, wearing a mouth guard, ear plugs, and sleep mask, repeatedly flopping off the bed and sandwiching herself between it and the nylon wall of the tent. Then, picture her trying to contort herself back onto the mattress, only to tumble off of it again. It happened so many times. Blind, deaf, and sporting dental apparatus.
During one of these pseudo-conscious periods, I discovered that during some point while I slept, the temperature dropped roughly 500 degrees. So, add to all of this the groping around in the darkness for anything to use for warmth on the lower half of my body.
It should be noted the zipper on the sleeping bag had gotten stuck (because of course it had), so I couldn’t actually do much beyond shoving random items down to the bottom of the bag and attempting to maneuver them close to the cold parts. The towel I brought, every sock I owned, a sweater….all shoved down to the bottom of the sleeping bag. The only thing I brought to wear on my head was a floppy straw sun hat, which did nothing for warming up my face or the top of my head, which should offer all the clarification you need to understand why I chose to use my swimsuit bottoms as a beanie.
And yes, I did have to drag myself out of the tent in the middle of the night to pee. I’m proud to say that didn’t lead to any major incidents.
I almost forgot to mention I set up my tent atop a pile of moose poop.
SO THAT WAS THE FIRST NIGHT.